“California-Style” Whiskeys Make an Impact

Local distilleries like St. George, Greenbar and Charbay are adding to their portfolio with must-try spirits.

As a California-born whiskey and bourbon aficionado whose Kentucky-born grandfather used to rub Blanton’s on my gums while teething, I am very conflicted by the term “California-style whiskey.” But in a state primarily known for its wine, a few businesses have broadened their scope and added ryes and bourbons to their repertoire infused with California botanicals or even distilled from locally brewed beer.

The Sonoma Bourbon Whiskey, distilled by Sonoma Distilling, a pioneer in the California whiskey market, is worth a try, as is the St. George Breaking & Entering American Whiskey…even if it is made using casks of bourbon and rye pilfered from Tennessee and Kentucky. What’s most admirable about these West Coast spirits is their unique flavor twists, which stay true to those oak and vanilla finishes but mix in unique spices for that California flair.

Here are eight whiskeys distilled right here in California that you should consider adding to your bar.